Can I be reimbursed money that was used to pay off debt during the marriage?

Can I be reimbursed money that was used to pay off debt during the marriage?

Can I be reimbursed if my husband controls the earnings from his business and has failed to pay himself what he is capable of earning? 

Spouse in Texas have three marital estates in property:  the community estate (which represents both spouses’ community property), the wife’s separate estate, and the husband’s separate estate.  During the marriage, one of these marital estates will often contribute money or effort (i.e. a spouse’s time, toil and talent) to benefit another estate.

For example a wife might use her salary (a community asset) to pay down the mortgage on a residence that the husband acquired by contract before the marriage (husband’s separate property).  In this example, the wife’s contribution of community property to the husband’s separate property does not change the fact that the property will be considered the husband’s separate property instead of community property.  Instead the court will recognize that the community estate should be reimbursed by the husband’s separate estate. By far the two most common reimbursable claims involve the contribution by one estate toward mortgage or credit card debt that belongs to another estate.

To be eligible for a reimbursement, the spouse seeking reimbursement must establish the following:

1)  that a contribution was made by one marital estate (i.e. the community estate, husband’s separate estate, or wife’s separate estate);

2) that the contribution was used to pay unsecured debts (i.e. Credit card debt), or that the contribution was used to reduce the principal on secured debt (i.e. paying principal on mortgage) or that a spouse failed to contribute money to the community estate for the time toil and effort of a spouse of his work by not compensating himself from a business that is his separate property.

3) the value of the contribution.

If you believe that you may have a reimbursement claim be sure to question your attorney regarding any contributions from one estate to another estate.